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Choosing the right agent for healthcare matters

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2024 | Powers Of Attorney |

It can be a difficult prospect for other people to make decisions about an adult’s medical needs in an emergency.  Other people may have a hard time recalling someone’s wishes, and their prior conversations on the topic may no longer reflect someone’s desires. An individual’s healthcare preferences may shift dramatically over the course of a lifetime.

Someone’s preferences when they begin their career may be vastly different than their wishes later in life. Factors ranging from someone’s health and age to their family circumstances can influence what types of treatment they would prefer to receive in a medical emergency. An advance health care directive can include information about someone’s medical wishes to guide others, but written instructions can only go so far.

Eventually, it may be necessary for another person to make informed decisions about an individual’s medical treatment. Establishing an advance healthcare directive with an explanation of someone’s medical preferences is a smart move, but they also need to choose an agent to handle their healthcare challenges when their documents don’t address a specific situation.

The right candidate possesses key qualities

There are certain factors that are invaluable in a healthcare agent or proxy. The first is their trustworthiness. The principal putting together the documents has to trust that the person they name can act in their best interests regardless of the situation. They have to trust that the person is competent and ethical enough to follow the instructions that they have provided regarding their care decisions.

Additionally, people need to choose an agent who is close enough geographically to be physically present during the time of an emergency. Someone can’t provide support if they are several states away when someone needs assistance. Their overall health and age are important. An agent should ideally be healthy and capable of asserting someone’s wishes long into their golden years.

Someone’s assertiveness and the state of their relationship with the person drafting the documents are also key considerations. People may even need to consider the other relationships that their agent has and how pressure from third parties might affect their performance of key functions.

Selecting the right healthcare agent is a crucial component of a comprehensive estate plan. Testators who plan for all of their potential future needs can feel confident regardless of what happens as they age.